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Empire of sentiment: the death of Livingstone and the myth of Victorian imperialism

Lewis, Joanna (2018) Empire of sentiment: the death of Livingstone and the myth of Victorian imperialism. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 9781107198517

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Identification Number: 10.1017/9781108182591


This is the first emotional history of the British Empire. Joanna Lewis explores how David Livingstone's death tied together British imperialism and Victorian humanitarianism and inserted it into popular culture. Sacrifice and death; Superman like heroism; the devotion of Africans; the cruelty of Arab slavery; and the sufferings of the 'ordinary man', generated waves of sentimental feeling. These powerful myths, images and feelings incubated down the generations - through grand ceremonies, further exploration, humanitarianism, Christian teaching, narratives of masculine endeavour and heroic biography - inspiring colonial rule in Africa, white settler pioneers, missionaries and Africans. Empire of Sentiment demonstrates how this central African story shaped Britain's romantic perception of itself as a humane power overseas when the colonial reality fell far short. Through sentimental humanitarianism, Livingstone helped sustain a British Empire in Africa that remained profoundly Victorian, polyphonic and ideological; whilst always understood at home as proudly liberal on race.

Item Type: Book
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 16:11
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 19:03

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